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"Mammals" ["Ssaki"] [1962]




Plot [IMDb]...

"Waiting for Godot" on ice and snow, without words. Against a barren winter landscape, a figure approaches: it's a man, pulling a small sleigh on which another man sits, plucking a dead bird. They stop to trade places; the one now on the sleigh takes out his knitting. Accidents, misunderstandings, disagreements, and an outright fight await our absurd protagonists as their trip to nowhere continues, first with one pulling, then the other. What if they were to lose the sleigh? What rules of civilization and partnership would guide them then?

ccthemovieman, IMDb reviewer, wrote...

No genre, I believe, is more subjective than humor. What is hilarious to one person is totally stupid to another, and vice-versa. What was very funny 60 years ago often looks dumb today and what was humorous 100 years ago was stupid to people 50 years later. Also, what makes people in one culture laugh does nothing for people halfway around the world in another country.

I say all that because this comedy was totally lame to me, yet seemed to make a few other reviewers laugh and probably made Polish audiences chuckle or howl 46 years ago. I found very little that humorous in here.....precious little. Basically, the story is just two "Dumb and Dumber" guys who do stupid things to each other out on a frozen lake somewhere.

What I did like was the music and the use of lighting for the barren winter landscape. Director Roman Polanski, in his last short film before making "Knife In The Water," uses the whiteness of the ice and general terrain very effectively, especially in one scene where one of the two bozos wraps himself in white bandages so you barely see him.

This is almost like an ode to silent films but, as fellow reviewer "nora nettlerash" puts it here, what good is it, if it isn't entertaining?

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See three other R. Polanski shorts...

"Rozbijemy Zabawe" [1957]

http://www.archive.org/details/rozbijemyZabawe1957

"The Fat and the Lean" ["Le Gros et le Maigre"] [1961]

http://www.archive.org/details/theFatAndTheLeanleGrosEtLeMaigre1961

"Two Men and a Wardrobe" ["Dwaj Ludzie z Szafa"] [1958]

http://www.archive.org/details/twoMenAndAWardrobedwajLudzieZSzafa1958


Run time 10 minutes 23 seconds
Producer Roman Polanski
Audio/Visual Black and White, music bed

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